Leesha leaves them in her wake


'DEAR Leesha,

Best of luck, signed Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery

With help like that, how could Leesha Preiser not be a star?

The nine-year-old from Lennox Head recently competed at the State Little Athletics Championships at Homebush in Sydney, coming home with two gold medals in the 70m and 100m events in the Under-9 age group.

What's more, she won the gold medals in personal best time.

The Year 4 student also broke three different records at the zone championships at Nambucca Heads in December in the 70m, 100m and long jump.

She even bettered her new zone long jump record on the same day.

Leesha got the autographs of US sprint stars Jones and Montgomery through an uncle who worked on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.

She said she got into athletics last year when a new Little As club was formed in Ballina.

"I just became good at it," she said.

All up, Leesha said she had received 20 medals ... 10 of them gold.

"I've been to Nambucca, Armidale, Newcastle and Sydney twice," Leesha said.

And her achievements are not restricted to the sprints ? she will compete in the regional cross-country titles at Caniaba after winning her school and district events recently.

Leesha also plays soccer for Lennox Head and is a karate blue belt.

"I've got purple, brown and black to go," she said.

She said she practised only a little bit before a big race by going to her local oval for a run.

Parents Glenn Preiser and Angie McLeod said Leesha's success was unexpected, given neither of them were into running.

"You might ask her to go to bed, and she wants to go for a run around the block," Angie said.

Angela said they went to watch Leesha compete all the time.

Her success has also be recognised by her school.

"I've been called up in front of the whole school," Leesha said.

n Leesha is the May winner in The Northern Star Southern Cross Ten 2005 Junior Sports Star of the Year Award for her achievements in athletics.

She joins Lennox Head swimmer Jemma Johnson (March) and Ocean Shores athlete Michael Ensor (April) in the running to win the Sports Star of the Year at a gala presentation night in December. n Entry form for the monthly awards is on Page 32 today.

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